Friday, 17 September 2010

New Term, New Shoes!

One of the disadvantages of being a supply teacher is sitting waiting for someone to give you some work whilst you watch your bank account empty and worry about paying the bills. September tends to be a horribly lean month as teachers return refreshed from the holiday and less likely to go off sick and they don't go on many courses as they want to stay in school and get to know their new classes.

So, I was delighted to be asked to work on the very first teaching day of the new term and in fact have worked all but the two Fridays. In addition to this I've had a bit of a tax rebate, enough to pay some bills and have a couple of treats. This all makes me very happy! And what did I want to buy as a treat? Why shoes of course! Now, as I have previously mentioned I am quite a practical person. Much as I love the killer heels you see on the catwalk, I realise I wouldn't be able to walk to the bus stop in them or spend a day in the classroom. So when I look for beautiful shoes, I look for beautiful, comfortable shoes. And I found them.

Now, I'm not sure that this picture does justice to their plummy beauty so I'll take some pictures of my feet when they arrive (my local shoe shop didn't have an eight in stock so I've ordered them). I am ready to fall in love with them.

I also got a pair of trainers to wear to the gym but that's a whole other story...

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Reading Lists

I don't tend to do book reviews as I think there's a limit to how many detective novels you want to hear about and because, despite my love of reading, I'm not going to impress anyone with my reading list. Unlike this young man...

A dictionary, an encyclopedia, The Bible and Batman! Wow!

Back to Work!

I love my job, most of the time, and hate the holidays, partly because I love teaching and partly because I don't get paid. Today was the first time ever that I've had a supply day on the fist day of term and it was wonderful to be back in the classroom. Even better I'm booked for three days a week at the school closest to my house right up until half term. Now if I can just fill the other days, get my tax rebate and get my ex-husband to cough up the money he owes me I might manage to be able to afford a new winter coat this year (last year's coat was cancelled when the cat got ill and I needed the money for vets' bills).

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Lost in Translation.

It was my nephew's nineteenth birthday last week and he's soon to join me in God's Own Country when he starts University in York next month. I've promised him the birthday present of a trip to the shops for mugs, bowl, signs that say "Keep Off!" and anything else he finds he needs in Halls. I'm looking forward to going over for the day and taking him out to lunch; I may even attempt to be a cool aunt, a role I've never really managed as I've always been practical aunt.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'm incapable of being cool aunt, I was born sensible! In any case, my youngest sister is his cool aunt (she wanted to get him a games console) and my brother is undoubtedly cool uncle and gave him a bottle of good aftershave and a fantastic card his beautiful Spanish partner had made. It's this card I want to show you. Some of the subtleties of the English language have been lost to her since their return to Andalusia a few years ago!

My Favourite Shop

Ok, so maybe not the shop I most like to buy things from (step forward John Lewis, Waitrose, Monsoon, Paperchase, VV Rouleaux, Cath Kidston, Emma Bridgewater, The Conran Shop, Ikea, Carluccio's, Mana Tree, etc, etc.) but I love this shop we found in Venice, especially as they have a plastic Fox Terrier dressed as a Gondelier in the window.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

My Twin

My family used to be seen as a bit odd. My adoptive father was a widower with three small children when he met my single-mother mother and they married and had a baby. I grew up with adoptive brother and sisters and a half sister in a town where there was only one child of a "broken home" in my entire school. It didn't make me feel bad; I valued our unusual set-up.

There were some disadvantages. I don't look like my siblings and that can be surprisingly difficult when trying to work out where you belong. The journey back to Ireland in the summers was always wonderful as the ferry from Holyhead was always filled with people who had the same dark hair, blue eyes and milky skin as I have and I'd spend weeks in a country full of people who think the same way I do.

A few years ago, just south of Dublin, I had the interesting experience of being in a pub waiting for a funeral to start next door (in a church, not a pub, don't be thinking this is some tale of Paddywhackery) and seeing a group of women walk in who looked so like me it was uncanny. I heaved a sigh of relief and homecoming and turned to my Mammy to comment on it when I realised my cousin Paddy was with them and these were his sisters who I've never really known very well as they were always away when we visited. After years of looking nothing like my family (except the aforementioned Mammy, talk about "Send in the Clones")this was an amazing feeling and despite the sad occasion it was a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by my "kin".

"This is all very well," I hear you say, "but where is the promised twin?" Hold your horses, I'm getting there...

During those trips to Ireland we would often stop and visit my Mammy's cousin and family and I would be expected to pal around with my second cousin J and her younger brother B- who is tragically no longer with us. CousinJ is a year older than me and I was hopelessly intimidated by her and her big city glamour but we met as adults after nearly twenty years and there was an instant recognition. After we'd admitted our mutual intimidation (she thought I was the sophisticated English girl) we realised we looked alike and thought alike, and forged a relationship much closer than you'd expect from girls with a relationship no closer than a shared great-grandparent.

She lives in England now though we don't see each other as often as we'd like thanks to my precarious financial situation. I can talk to her about things I can't share with my sisters and she understands me instantly. She makes me laugh and provided my favourite quote for the Overheard Exhibition. She understands my issues with food and I was delighted to be able to steer her away from Lighter Life and toward Beyond Chocolate. She and her husband are a dreadful influence on me at family parties and it's their fault that I've now made two speeches whilst a little drunk. Take away the difference in our accents and you'd have difficulty telling us apart when we speak, save she says "Grand" and I say "Fantastic". I have no hesitation in saying that I love her dearly and plan to retire to her spare room from whence I will emerge to join her in a double-act that leaves her husband breathless and laughing that,
"You two are so alike".

We are, and I love it!